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Author Topic: Use it constantly with the mama in law  (Read 6503 times)

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Ms. Megan

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Use it constantly with the mama in law
« on: June 29, 2009, 01:25:36 PM »
My boyfriend has been working hard to get his health in order and has completely turned it around in the last two weeks. He eats better, looks better, has even lost a few pounds. He was whistling and cheery when he came in to tell his Mama and me what the doctor said.

Mama responds with, "Good, because I didn't want to be planning a funeral."

Thank goodness his blood pressure is healthy and he can let comments like that roll off but MY blood pressure shot up and I saw stars. How could she say that? Completely serious, too.

We both ignored it and continued making lunch together but it got me thinking that we actually ignore her a lot. And it's because she makes awful comments a lot. For example, one time at the dinner table I asked boyfriend what osmosis is. He started explaining but in the middle of it, Mama stopped him to tell us that he is wrong and osmosis's ummmm...well, she didn't really remember what it was since it's been soooooo long since she's had to talk about it but boyfriend was wrong. He waited till she was finished and then continued telling me. And to be honest her intelligence cannot compare to his. He is used to her but I am often shocked by the things she will say. And I ignore her a lot. She is very negative and I simply choose not to answer to it or try to inject something positive. For example, every single time we make plans to go out, it is going to rain. She knows it. We will get rained on.

We have to ignore it because it is exasperating to do otherwise. Sometimes I feel guilty ignoring her but if I don't, it will turn into badmouthing me or my boyfriend and I will defend it and get angry. Is this an acceptable way to use silence? On a day to day basis like that with someone I live with?


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Re: Use it constantly with the mama in law
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2009, 05:37:04 PM »
It sounds like you have to walk a fine line between bean-dipping (see the other sections for successful tactics doing that) and silence.  Bean-dip when you have the energy to be positive.  It has the advantage of letting you redirect the conversation by essentially ignoring what she contributed but not shutting her out of the rest of the conversation.  Use silence when you just can't bean-dip anymore that day or for particularly awkward or mean-spirited comments (the funeral one, wow, silence was the only way to go).

What would happen if your bf (gently) called her on some of her more negative comments?  Maybe she doesn't realize that most of her interactions with you are as extremely negative as they are.  I mention this because my mom went through a phase of negatively toned emails and phone calls while I was planning my wedding - I finally had enough and emailed her that if she continued, I'd stop talking about the wedding with her and if she didn't believe me, to go back through her own emails and see just how negative she was sounding.  She never responded directly to me about it, but she did lighten up considerably.


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Re: Use it constantly with the mama in law
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 01:53:46 PM »
I don't think you should ever feel guilty about ignoring someone especially when they're behavior is pretty awful; some would say they're getting off lightly. But as you and BF appear to be on the same page and you're in the beginning stages of a relationship where you're (hopefully) looking at many more years of her, you two might wish to work together to gently 'retrain' her. This might be especially good before she becomes a grandmother.

She's probably repeating words, tones and phrases SHE'S heard and may have no idea how horrible she sounds. So on occasion some gentle feedback and/or humor may give her a clue:

"Mom, I'm happy to hear you didn't want to plan my funeral, too..."  "Mom does that mean you'll be doing a rain dance for us?"
"Gosh Mom, that sounded so mean...surely you didn't mean it..."

If that doesn't work or she gets worse...well I guess bricking her up in the basement and THEN ignoring her would cause other problems... >:D PB